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History: First President to Fly

History: First President to Fly

Roosevelt Wasted No Time Being the First Prez to Fly The very name of Theodore Roosevelt brings up an image of a man of limitless energy, always seeking new adventures. In 1910, he added another one to his list when he flew in an airplane. Roosevelt started life as a sickly child, but he didn’t […]
Silent Targets: The glider gang behind the trees

Silent Targets: The glider gang behind the trees

During the National WW II Glider Pilots Association’s 41st reunion in Oklahoma City in October 2011, glider pilots George L. Williams of Idaho and Norman C. Wilmeth of Oklahoma shared memories of their D-Day glider missions with the author.   MISSION ELMIRA Normandy D-Day Flight Officer George L. Williams flew seven glider missions during World […]

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Luftwaffe’s  Bf 109E “Emil”

Luftwaffe’s Bf 109E “Emil”

Apart from its combat record, the Bf 109 remains a historic aircraft for sheer numbers produced. More than seven decades after WWII, only the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik exceeds the Messerschmitt’s total of 34,000 produced, even under the pressure of continual Allied bombing. Nothing else comes close. Frequently, the Soviet Yakovlev fighter series is compared to […]
Caudron C.460: Ancient Speed Demon Reborn

Caudron C.460: Ancient Speed Demon Reborn

Speed has always been a drug, of sorts. It has captivated mankind for as long as he has stood on two legs and nowhere has the urge to see who is the fastest been stronger than in aviation. And at no time has that competition been more fierce than during the 1930s, the uncontested golden […]

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Fixin’ the Boat: Of Splinters and Tail Hooks

Fixin’ the Boat: Of Splinters and Tail Hooks

The reason why the earlier U.S. aircraft carriers had flight decks covered with wood as opposed to steel has been a mystery to many. Most will tell you that all of the decks were with teakwood. This may have been the preferred material, but beginning in 1941, most of the world’s teakwood was found in […]
Wingman to the Aces

Wingman to the Aces

There are no great aces without great wingmen and young Lt. Floyd Fulkerson from Little Rock, Arkansas, was one of those wingmen. Although he had four confirmed victories, so he was nearly an ace himself, he sees his primary contribution to the war effort to have been the protection of his lead pilots, some of […]

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10  Aviation  Myths  of World War II Fact vs. Fiction

10 Aviation Myths of World War II Fact vs. Fiction

Seventy years later, the Second World War remains the defining event of the 20th century and for the generations who experienced it. It led to the half-century Cold War and still shapes the geopolitical map today. Decades of lies and legends still swirl around the crucial events of mankind’s greatest conflict, and many of them […]
Grasshopper Roundup

Grasshopper Roundup

In the summer of 1941, with a world war knocking at America’s door, the U.S. Army was itching for a “low and slow” observation plane. The Army wanted one that could loiter near and over the hidden enemy and, when spotted, could then coordinate with artillery units to rain destruction down upon the foe. During […]

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Rare Bird: Pitcairn Autogiro

Rare Bird: Pitcairn Autogiro

“This is a real prehistoric monster in flight. Once the helicopter was built, these autogiros became dinosaurs,” stated the late Jack Tiffany of Spring Valley, Ohio, at the time, co-owner (with Jim Hammond of Yellow Springs, Ohio) of the Pitcairn PA-18 N1267B (c/n G-65), the only example of the type flying in the U.S., when […]
Aviation Insider: Technology vs. Basic Flying Skill

Aviation Insider: Technology vs. Basic Flying Skill

Is automation killing people? That’s the question that keeps on giving. But what’s the answer? As with everything else, there are plenty of opinions. For the sake of clarity, let’s group them into three categories. The first opinion, typically held by older, more experienced, aviation types is the belief that today’s aviation is an accident […]
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